Do I need a Power of Attorney?

Most people think they need a Will (or perhaps a Trust).  A Will describes what to do with your ‘stuff’ after you die, and yes, we are all going to die.

But, what happens to your ‘stuff’ if you are still alive but incapacitated in some way?  How will your bills be paid if you are in a coma?  Who will make decisions if you suffer from dementia or have a heart attack and end up in the hospital for awhile?

If you have a Power of Attorney, you get to choose who will make those decisions, and those decisions can be made as soon as needed.  If you do not have a Power of Attorney, someone can petition the Court to appoint a conservator.  It might be the same person you would have chosen, but the Court might appoint someone else.  Someone you would not have wanted to have that control over your affairs.  And it won’t be done immediately because it just takes time.  So your perfect credit rating can be tarnished when your payments don’t get processed before they are late.

Also, if you have a Power of Attorney, you get to decide what your Agent can do.  For example, you get to decide if you want your Agent to make gifts above the tax free limit each year if that’s in your best interest.

In fact, the Power of Attorney can be the most important document in your Estate Plan.  And the answer is Yes, I think you do need a Power of Attorney.

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